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Re: todo-mode feature request: add a customization option to automatical

From: Stephen Berman
Subject: Re: todo-mode feature request: add a customization option to automatically separate todo entries by a blank line
Date: 26 Nov 2001 13:39:25 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.0808 (Gnus v5.8.8) Emacs/20.7

Daniel Ortmann <address@hidden> writes:

> In GNU Emacs 21.1.1 (sparc-sun-solaris2.7, X toolkit)
> Add a customization option to automatically separate todo entries by a
> blank line.  Such behavior would help me to visually find and read
> items.

I've made an attempt to do this (since I use todo-mode and this seems
like an good idea, and it appears that Oliver Seidel, todo-mode's
author, is not working on this (does anyone know how to contact
him?)); the resulting patch is attached.  I want to make a few
comments about the patch and also ask some related questions to users
of todo-mode.

As I quickly discovered, it is not nearly enough to simply add a
defcustom for the todo item separator, since this feature has to
interact with the actual separation between existing todo entries in
each category.  My solution was to add a function for changing the
item separator per todo category.  I'm not very experienced at hacking
Emacs and I may well have come up with a clumsy solution, but, unless
I've overlooked something, it does do the job.  It allows the user to
define non-alphanumeric strings to separate todo items.  The existing
todo item functions for adding new items, editing, reprioritizing and
deleting existing items continue to work, though they all had to be
modified -- most extensively the function for inserting items at
user-specified positions within a todo category, which I recently
posted a patch for: that patch is superseded by the new version and
should be discarded (all the more so, since Richard Stallman has
convinced me that the earlier patch behaves poorly in certain cases).

My patch applies to todo-mode version 1.34, which I use with Emacs
20.7.1.  Todo-mode is not included in this version of Emacs (I found
and installed it after reading about it on Usenet), but since version
1.34 includes the line "This file is part of GNU Emacs." I gather that
it was removed from the distribution at some point.  I take it that it
has been reinstalled in Emacs 21.1, but which version?  I ask because
I also found a verion 1.38 on the net, which adds outline-mode
functionality but AFAICT does not otherwise change the functionality
of version 1.34 (though there are some changes in the code of
previously existing functions).  I haven't been using this version
mainly because I haven't felt a need for the outline functionality
(also, there are some bugs besides the ones I've fixed in version
1.34).  In a certain respect, however, it obviates the need for adding
a customizable item separator: this feature was requested because to
better distinguish visually between items, but with Outline mode
activated, each item is folded to a single line, making them pretty
easy to distinguish.  Nevertheless, I have tried combining the outline
mode code in version 1.38 with my changes to version 1.34, but it
breaks a lot of the code I wrote.  I've tried some quick fixes which
seem promising, but haven't had time to pursue it.  I may try to do
that anyway, but it would be helpful motivation to know whether this
version is the one used in Emacs 21.1, and also, whether people really
find the Outline mode functionality useful in todo-mode.

Finally -- although this is OT, it is prompted by my work on todo-mode
-- what's the most appropriate forum for posting changes or extensions
to existing Emacs code, which are neither bug fixes nor direct
responses to feature requests.  I have some ideas about extending
todo-mode's functionality, which I'd like to try and implement.  If
and when I do, should I post them to gnu.emacs.sources even though I'm
not the author or maintainer of todo-mode?  Or should I post them to
gnu.emacs.bug?  (A related issue is that, since my newsserver purges
most newsgroups a lot quicker than I can keep up with them, I
subscribe to the bug-gnu-emacs and gnu-emacs-sources mailing lists,
but while the former seems to be equivalent to the newsgroup, I've
found that numerous postings to the gnu.emacs.sources newsgroup do not
appear in the mailing list (with the help-gnu-emacs mailing list, the
ratio is even much worse, and the gnu-misc-discuss mailing list is
virtually non-existant, in contrast to the newsgroup).  I though these
were all supposed to be bidectional, so why is there such variation?)

--Steve Berman

Attachment: todo-mode-1.34.srb-patch
Description: patch for todo-mode, v1.34

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